Statement by Ambassador Steffen Kongstad, Norway
Climate change is recognized as one of the most serious challenges this century. We all know that the cure is substantial cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions. Still, emissions in almost all countries of the world are increasing, and the problem is growing. The past decade we have seen an increasing number of extreme weather events such as floods, droughts, storms and heat waves. This has had enormous consequences, especially in poor, vulnerable countries. We have to get used to this pattern according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The Special Report on Extreme Events which was approved by the IPCC last year predicts stronger and more frequent extreme events in the years to come.
This is an alarming scenario, and we have to prepare to avoid the worst impacts. The Global Framework for Climate Services will be an important tool in this effort. The main purpose of the Framework is making available and sharing weather and climate information. This is vital in the endeavours to adapt to climate change, prevent disasters and thereby save lives.
Three years ago, in this building, we agreed to establish the Global Framework for Climate Services. During this Extraordinary Session of Congress we will adopt the GFCS implementation plan and an Intergovernmental Board of Climate Services. This would be a major achievement. Norway strongly supports a rapid implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services in line with the roadmap and priorities outlined in the implementation plan.
There is an urgent need for funding to establish the Framework. Important tasks are building climate information systems and filling the gaps in developing countries. This is a prerequisite for their full participation in the Framework. Norway signed an agreement with the WMO last year in Durban on our support for the Framework. We will contribute 10 million USD for strengthening weather and climate services in Africa and support the GFCS secretariat. We had expected many other countries to follow our example, but so far we have been disappointed. The Framework will not be a success unless sufficient funding is made available. We urge all countries, especially developed countries, to contribute their fair share for the benefit of all.
So far the success of international negotiations on mitigating climate change has been limited. Countries’ reductions pledges under the UN Framework Convention for Climate Change are far from sufficient. Scientists have estimated that we must expect a warming of more than 3 degrees as a global mean if the promised reductions are fulfilled. The Global Framework for Climate Services is vital for the work to adapt to climate change and to prevent climate related disasters. We are confident that investing in climate data and services will prove to be a sound investment.
I would like to congratulate the World Health Organization with the launch of the atlas of health and climate which was presented by Dr. Chan the Director General of WHO. We are convinced that the atlas will be of high value to the work on climate related health impacts in vulnerable countries, as well as for the GFCS. Norway supports the work of the WHO in the important area of health and climate change.
Let us now join forces and ensure progress at this Extraordinary Session of Congress. I can assure you that Norway stands ready to contribute in the process ahead, including in the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services and its governing body. We aim for positive decisions this week so that we can concentrate on realising the Framework and ensuring its success.